Costochondritis is the medical term for inflammation of the cartilage which joins your ribs to your breastbone (sternum). This area is known as the costochondral joint.
Cartilage is tough but flexible connective tissue found throughout the body, including in the joints between bones. It acts as a shock absorber, cushioning the joints.
Costochondritis may improve on its own after a few weeks, although it can last for several months or more. The condition doesn’t lead to any permanent problems, but may sometimes relapse.
Costochondritis may be confused with a separate condition called Tietze’s syndrome. Both conditions involve inflammation of the costochondral joint and can cause very similar symptoms.
However, Tietze’s syndrome is much less common and often causes chest swelling, which may last after any pain and tenderness has gone.
Costochondritis also tends to affect adults aged 40 or over, whereas Tietze’s syndrome usually affects young adults under 40.
Treatment is the same.
What is the difference between costochondritis and a heart attack?
It’s not known exactly why the costochondral joint becomes inflamed, but in some cases it’s been linked to:
How could you manage or prevent the following?
Heart attack usually causes more widespread pain and additional symptoms, such as breathlessness, nausea and sweating.
Exercise 19: using your previous knowledge and the link above, what would be your management for Pat?